The Fishing and Marine Industry Daily News Feed

Bill Approved to Limit Number of Pogie-Fishing Licenses

Under a bill passed by the Maine Legislature on Wednesday, the state’s pogie fishery will be closed to all fishermen in 2023 except current license holders who meet certain criteria.

To be eligible, fishermen must have held a license to fish for pogies in at least two of three years from 2019-21, and have landed 25,000 pounds in at least one of those years. Those who have the required license history but have not yet met the landings requirement have until the end of 2022 to harvest 25,000 pounds.

Pogies, also known as menhaden, have returned to state waters in large numbers over the past few years. As herring landings have dwindled, many lobstermen have switched to pogies for bait. At the same time, lax licensing requirements have lured others to enter the pogie fishery.

But the fishery has a regional quota, set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which is up for reassessment next month. State officials are concerned that the rules will be changed in ways that will limit the amount harvested from Maine coastal waters and estuaries. If the fishery remained open to additional licenses, that would mean less would be available for each fisherman, threatening the bait industry.

Maine’s quota was set at 2.1 million pounds for 2021-22, or 0.52 percent of the total allowed U.S. catch. Maine blew through that quota in just six fishing days.

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